It is my pleasure to turn the Spectrum blog over to Robert Jacobson for the month of July. —Alexander Carpenter
I am a fourth generation Seventh-day Adventist and a product of the Adventist education system. My great grandfather Fredrick Alpheus Harter was a traveling evangelist, and his brother Robert Harter was the president of the Lake Union. One could say Adventism is in my veins. I have just finished a PhD in pure mathematics at Texas A&M University and am headed to an assistant professorship at Roger Williams University in the fall. With my B.S. in computer science, you could say that math and computer science are both my vocation and avocation.
I have a love affair with science and religion but am far more interested in the constructive conversations between the two rather than demanding they fight to the philosophical death. As such, I am very excited about Bringing the Real World to Genesis, a series facilitated by Jan M. Long involving scientists taking seriously scientific data and its relationship to our religious understandings.
My experience of Adventism is far larger and more textured than the frequently recurring, often wearying topics of debate so pervasive in the Adventist blogosphere. This month expect to see articles about the rich diversity of lived Adventism, about people and ideas that may seem very foreign to many Adventists yet that are in some sense still deeply Adventist themselves. I am not talking about “big tent” versus “little tent” Adventism, or about how we define an Adventist or which fundamental beliefs we should have, as important as those things are. Rather, I am interested in highlighting how Adventism is lived out on the ground and in the pews in all of its richness and difference. My hope is to create occasions for us to learn about one another, to see our family resemblance within God’s family, to expand our possibilities through our understanding of difference, and to hash out what it is we already think we know about ourselves but perhaps have never been challenged to examine.
I love Adventism. What is at once so beautiful and so frightening is that we can be somehow simultaneously so very similar and so very different. For this reason I love the motto of Spectrum: community through conversation. Through conversation we reveal our differences and similarities and thus make ourselves vulnerable to beauty and fear. That’s what being part of a faith community is about.